Simon Gipson on the Value of Creativity
Since arriving at The Song Room a little over a month ago, my perspective on the value of creativity in education has only been reinforced. As I reflect on my initial experiences of The Song Room’s Teaching Artists in schools with disadvantaged cohorts, what I keep coming back to is that teaching children the skill of creativity empowers them to flourish as self-starting, independent learners.
The Song Room’s Teaching Artists have a unique and intuitive approach to teaching the skill of creativity. They bring to the classroom a depth and wealth of experience, skill, understanding, passion and talent in their chosen area of the creative arts, inspiring students in a way that traditional pedagogy, in the context of a conventional primary school, cannot do.
The risk for children from disadvantaged backgrounds is that they arrive at school confronted with an environment which does not often work in their favour. They may start school with little reading readiness, they may come from an environment where there is limited English language at home, or they may be affected by poverty or domestic violence. In many ways, they are not set up for success right from the start of their school career.
The great power of bringing Teaching Artists into disadvantaged communities is that they provide students with an opportunity to excel and succeed. I was speaking with a Principal in Broadmeadows in Melbourne’s outer suburbs recently who said that The Song Room’s program brings joy into the lives of kids who don’t have too much to get excited about. If conditions can be created that provide children with an incentive to attend school, which engages them in activities in which they can be successful, and which empowers them and enables them to collaborate, then there is a greater chance of children feeling more positive about all other areas of school life.
It goes further than that though. Children participating in The Song Room’s programs gain a range of foundational skills and attitudes that are applicable across the curriculum, not just in an arts or creative learning environment. Building opportunities for children from disadvantaged backgrounds to take safe and structured risks, both as individuals and collectively, whether it be in performance or just in venturing their ideas within a supportive group, will spill over in the way they will engage more broadly in their learning environments.
The Song Room has an extraordinary capacity to enable children to productively and positively flourish. As the new CEO at The Song Room, it makes sense to me. Creative kids are brighter kids without a doubt.